“Lotte? Go if you can!” Highly recommended… Former Lotte’s lucky foreign player’s words that led to the ‘decision’ of a .300 ML batter
“I came to Lotte believing what the coach said”
The Lotte Giants suffered from foreign hitters last year. Jack Rex, who had been playing the role of filial son in the Lotte uniform as DJ Peters’ replacement in 2022, was forced to pack up because of his chronic knee injury, and even Nico Goodrum, who was ambitiously recruited to rebound in the second half of the year, fell short of expectations. In particular, Goodrum didn’t hit a single home run, and in defense, he was so disappointed that it is hard to say that he was selected as a finalist for the Gold Glove in the Major League.
Coach Kim Tae-hyung, who will take over as Lotte’s new head coach in the winter of 2023, expressed his intention to renew his contract with Charlie Barnes, the left-winger, and Aaron Wilkerson, the “Jesus of Death,” during an interview with reporters at the closing camp last year, but hinted at breaking up with Goodrum. “The two pitchers have good control and run the game. I don’t know if there is a much better player than these two, but I think Barnes and Wilkerson are the most stable right now,” the head coach said. “We decided to change them without considering foreign hitters.”
When asked about the type of foreign hitters he hopes for, manager Kim Tae-hyung said, “Foreign hitters should have good contact skills, but slugging is the first.” Lotte also signed a $950,000 contract with Victor Reyes on December 17 last year (guaranteed amount of $700,000 and incentive of $250,000). Lotte said, “Reyes is a player who can play all outfield positions,” adding, “We expect Reyes to play a central role in the team’s batting lineup through his athletic ability and attitude to focus on baseball.”
Reyes is a major league fan who has heard his name at least once. Reyes, who signed an international amateur contract with the Atlanta Braves and made the professional stage, was selected by the Detroit Tigers as the No. 1 overall pick in the first round of the 2017 Rule 5 draft after being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks as a minor league player. He was called by the big leagues for the first time in 2018 and played through the 2022 season. 꽁머니사이트
In his first season since debut, Reyes was less than expected with a batting average of 0.222 OPS 0.527 in 100 games, but the following year, he started to stand out with 84 hits, three homers, and 25 RBIs in 69 games with a batting average of 0.304 OPS 0.767. And in 2020, when the shortened season was held due to COVID-19, he played 57 games, leaving 56 hits, four homers, and 14 RBIs with a batting average of 0.277 OPS 0.706. However, his performance began to decline little by little every year, and he disappeared from the big league at the end of the 2022 season.